James Cowser's Training Camp Diary: Traveling To Arizona And The Preseason Opener

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*Rookie linebacker/defensive end James Cowser will be contributing to Raiders.com throughout Training Camp 2016, discussing his first experience at the team's Napa Valley Training Complex.

Here is the third entry in the "Cowser Chronicles."

By James Cowser

As we traveled to Arizona for our first preseason game, everything was pretty familiar to me, I guess, in the sense that it was very close to what we did in college. The professionalism, how we dressed – we always dressed up when we traveled in college – everything was pretty close to what I had already done at Southern Utah, so that just took off a level of anxiety and nervousness. It was super fun to kind of get the feeling like you're kind of getting back into games. That's the best part of football, the games, traveling with the team, and just being a part of something bigger than yourself. It was good to get that feeling back.

I'm pretty chill when it comes to pregame stuff. I listen to music on the way over, but when we get into the locker room I don't really listen to music. I just try to relax, take in the moment, just enjoy that I'm there, and just slowly get ready. I make sure everything feels right, everything's smooth, and then get my legs going, and get my body going a little bit. Then I just go. I don't have anything special. I'm not banging my head against my locker beforehand. I just chill.

It was great getting back on the field. Games are the absolute best part of football. Practice is practice. It's fun; it's football, and you enjoy it, but when you can go hit someone else, and something is on the line, whether it's pride, or a record, it just makes football that much more exciting, and exhilarating is the only word I can really think of. It's just everything.

As far as my performance in the game, I thought I did some good stuff, but also, it shows you how much you have to improve on. That's the focus now – I think that's probably how a lot of guys on the team and across the NFL are. You see, okay that was good, now how can I get better fast? That's just what I'm trying to think about. Alright, I learned a lot from that game, what can I do to be better Game Two?

We fly out to Green Bay Wednesday, and it just feels like how it's going to be in the season. I'm sure that's how it's going to be moving forward. You have to grow, and get better quick, and develop, and that's what separates the good teams from the bad ones.  You look at it, everybody's excited Game One. *Everybody *is thrilled to be out there playing hard, but when Week 10 rolls around, and you're not playing someone in your division, who still cares enough to get better and improve, so that by the end of the season, you're there for the playoffs. You're there to make an extended run, versus you're sitting at home.

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